Acer S 13 S5-371 full review

The Acer S 13 is an ultrabook for normal people. And by that we mean people who still get a little shock when they see the price of a MacBook Air or, for example, the lovely-but-expensive £1299 HP Spectre 13. See also: Best laptops to buy right now

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Like the Asus ZenBook UX310UA or Dell Inspiron 13 5000, the Acer S 13 is a more affordable alternative to these wallet-busters. Aside from some cheaper parts to the build and a typically quirky trackpad, there are no parts that make it a lesser machine day-to-day than one of the much pricier alternatives. Its a smash.

Acer S 13 S5-371 review: Price

In the UK, there are two main versions of the Acer S 13. Acer sent us the cheaper one, which currently sells for £549.99 from Amazon, with an RRP of £599. It has a Core i3 processor and a 128GB SSD.

If you can afford a bit more, consider the more common Core i5 version. It costs £699 from Amazon and is available for slightly less online. 

Its other upgrade is a 256GB SSD, which gives you much more storage to play with. The cheaper version were using is perfectly good for most uses, though.

Acer S 13 S5-371 review: Design

The Acer S 13 does its best not to look like a copy of a MacBook, or one of the other popular ultrabook lines. It has an embossed ridgedplastic lid, offset by a silvery hinge that gives it a recognisable two-tone style.

Acer S 13 S5-371 review

Its underside is plastic too, and the use of plastic rather than aluminium or glass is one way Acer keeps the S 13s price accessible.

The laptop does have some parts that feel much more like a pricier machine, though. Its keyboard surround is aluminium, with a brushed finish thats cut around its edges to reveal the shiny aluminium underneath. Its lovely.

While you actually use the Acer S 13, it feels like an ultra-premium machine. Its only when you finishing working youre reminded this is really a mid-range laptop.

Its plastic parts still feel nice, though. They use a soft-touch finish for an extra tactile edge.

The Acer S 13’s keyboard has the rigidity than some laptops of this type lack too. Its far stiffer than the Asus ZenBook UX360CAs. While you tap away, it seems there really is no build quality compromise at all.

The main reason to want a laptop like the Acer S 13, though, is that its so slim and light. It weighs 1.3kg (1326g according to our scales) and is only 15mm thick, the perfect size to use for work trips, or if you want a laptop you can carry around all day, every day.

Acer S 13 S5-371 review: Connectivity

It has very versatile connectivity too. Acer has done its best to please just about everyone, packing-in a wide array of inputs in a very slim laptop.

 Acer S 13 S5-371 review

The ones occasionally left out of slimmer laptops are the full-size HDMI and full-size SD card slot. These are important if you want something to act as your main computer, particularly if youre a keen photographer.

Other connectors include two USB 3.0 ports and a single USB-C 3.1 port. This is the latest laptop socket, gradually being used in more and more phones aside from iPhones, which use Apples own Lightning connector.

 Acer S 13 S5-371 review

Acer S 13 S5-371 review: Keyboard and trackpad

Weve already noted the Acer S 13 feels like a high-end laptop as youre using it. Part of this is down to the fairly rigid aluminium keyboard surround. The keyboard itself is very nice too, though.

Its key depth is a little shallow, but the action is satisfying, a just-right mix of crispness and resistance. Once you get away from flat-out bad keyboards, the feel of them is quite subjective. But we like this one.

 Acer S 13 S5-371 review

Its layout is very similar to that of a MacBook, particularly in the shape and size of its Ctrl and Fn keys.

The Acer S 13 also has a cool blue keyboard backlight, one with two intensity settings to make the light less distracting. This is an advancedfeature not seen in every £500 laptop.

Its trackpad takes a bit of getting used to, though. It suffers from a fairly common Windows laptop problem, that its button layout feels less intuitive than that of a MacBook.

Like almost all style laptops, the buttons are built into the pad. The right mouse button zone takes up half the width and about a third of the pads height, and compared with a MacBook or one of the HP Envy style laptops (which use more dynamic button spacing), its a bit easy to accidentally press the right button until you get used to it.

If you like you can turn off the right button zone, though, giving the Acer S 13 a completely MacBook-like pad where you just use a two-finger press to use the right button. Using this mode you can leap-frog over the button awkwardness, and the pad otherwise feels great. Its friction is perfect thanks to what feels like a frosted glass surface, and the click mechanism is solid: not too deep, not too hard to press.

After a tweak or two the Acer S 13 has a top-quality keyboard and pad combo.

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